After posting about my milking struggles, I was excited to get a lot of advice and even some personal photographs (thank you, Gizmo!) on the subject of constructing a homemade goat hobble and other tips. We set to work implementing the ideas immediately. First, we moved the milkstand so it was up against the fence.
I told Clover, “This is going to be fun!!”
She scampered right up and said, “Oh boy! Does it involve cookies?”
She stuck her head right through the milkstand halter in search of goodies.
And I locked her in. I had gathered some rocks to scatter in the milkstand tray to hopefully slow down her food consumption. (I’m not sure it slowed her down much. Maybe the rocks aren’t big enough?) She shoved them aside and munched in her usual 7 am exuberance for food.
Then….she noted a disturbance in the force.
Yes, that would be the homemade goat hobble. Made of large, soft rope so as not to be harsh against her leg, it’s tied to the fence and then tied to her leg. Her leg was held up high enough to set her even more off balance, hopefully, if she were to try to cause trouble.
But she’s pretty hungry at 7 am, so she went back to her food. And I set to milking. It went pretty well for a minutes.
Then, the initial scream off her dawn appetite, she rallied for the fight.
Jerking her head about in the milkstand halter.
Calling her goat network, demanding a protest march and media notification.
Not to mention full makeup and a personal stylist.
I am here to report that a goat on three legs can still kick. I had to have my helper hold her other back leg while I milked and sometimes I had to yank the pail away and wait for her to settle down. She went through periods where she’d struggle fiercely, then she’d calm. Then she’d struggle again. I also, at times, held the other (untied) back leg myself with one hand, milking with the other. But this is hard–holding her leg with one hand and milking with the other. I can’t do it nonstop and I have to be able to milk by myself.
It was a battle, and a lesson learned, and, for once, for the first time, a full jam jar! The goat hobble helped quite a bit, but it wasn’t enough. She still kicks. Will she ever stop kicking? Is this just an adjustment period? (I’ve been milking her for nearly two weeks and she hasn’t calmed a teeny bit….) Did we tie her leg too high? Was she just uncomfortable? (She kicked before her leg was tied….)
The next morning, we came in with reinforcements. We tied the first leg up, but not quite so high, and we tied the other back leg down. It reduced kicking to have both legs tied, though it didn’t eliminate it entirely. Yes, with both back legs tied, she can still kick!
Clover: “I will defeat you yet.”
Me: “I will defeat you yet!”
And, for awhile, she ate her food and was calm. Then she rallied and it was a struggle. Much pulling the pail away, waiting for her to settle, putting the pail back, milking, then more struggling. And, yeah, a little crying.
Clover gained a partial win, finally, in wrestling around so much she got her leg down, though it remained tied.
I was tired, and the pail was fuller than it had ever been. I called a truce, considering it truly a win. I released Clover from the stand and let the babies out. They took their share immediately.
And me? Here’s why it was a win, whether Clover knows it or not.
Left to right: the day before the goat hobble, the first day of the goat hobble, the second day of the goat hobble.
I had enough milk that, for the first time, it was too much for a jam jar!!!!! I had to get out a pint jar!!!
Next goal–a full pint jar!!!
P.S. Okay, help. You see our efforts at a goat hobble. She’s still struggling and making milking difficult. More suggestions are so welcome!!